Thursday, August 28, 2014

STR Adventure Day 2 - Chilling in Khao Lak

Pic KC

Timeless classic - VW Karman Ghia

Pic KC

It was a great decision to spend another day in Khao Lak. Many Europeans actually prefer this place to busy Phuket. Our schedule was simple - just chill and chill we did with a morning gathering in Aspara's beautiful pool just by the private beach. After yesterday's ride, our muscles ached due to lack of conditioning so this break was much appreciated. We had loads of fun just swimming and combing the beach, and trust the ever creative KC to do this.

When the storms came late morning, we decided to take a taxi to town some 13km away. Unfortunately, the hotel only had one Toyota Camry available for the 7 of us and asked if we mind doing 2 trips, which meant 2 taxi fares of 400B each. My experience in Cambodia taught me that Camrys are more versatile and robust than we believe. Thinking outside the box, our solution was simple and so much more fun and cost effective!

When we arrived in town, we were very glad to spring out from the sardine can. First agenda was lunch and we asked the locals where they would eat. Turned out that Go Pong, as dreadful as the name seemed,  was a simple Thai eatery that was recommended and it did not disappoint. All the food we ordered was magnificent especially the fried chicken and all for about A$3 each with drinks. Cha Yen (milk tea) was of course part of our meal. 

Pic KC

Our stomachs satisfied, next on the agenda was a spot of massage. We discovered Casi Massage, a joint run by the enterprising Bunny from Bangkok and they were having a promo for the afternoon. At 250 - 300B each, we all were spoilt by our therapists and what better way of spending a wet afternoon, than lying down after a good meal for a snooze and a soothing massage. 

Feeling very decadent indeed, we proceeded off for coffee and cake at the warm and cosy Cafe Kantary,  just 10 mins walk through the rows of shops. George got his killer sandals here! One of the benefits of having international tourism in Khao Lak is world class coffees and we enjoyed our cuppa very much, though I had a lovely pot of tea and American choc cake!

Khao Lak was struck by a disastrous Tsunami in 2004 and perhaps the most famous icon of that today is Patrol Boat 813 which was swept 2km inland by the powerful waves. It was supposed to be protecting members of the Thai Royal family at that time. 

Where that boat rests is now made into a Tsunami monument and we went there to pay our respects and remember the many who perished. There are also quite a few other monuments located around the Khao Lak area.

We returned in late afternoon to the Aspara to experience the full force of the monsoons pouring from the skies. It was wonderful in those dreary circumstances to be cozy and coots in the comfort our rooms. We had planned to cycle out for dinner but the skies were still unrelenting. So it was once again, "How many can a Camry fit?" time, out to town for dinner. They offered a smaller Mazda 3, but we knew everything has a limit. This meal, we enjoyed it at an Indian restaurant, served by nice Burmese people. They had a lovely set meal for a very reasonable A$8 plus beer and it was a nice change from Thai food.

After dinner, we walked around Khao Lak town that seems to be a bit busier compared to the ghost town atmosphere in the afternoon. To be fair, this is the low season and when I suggested massage at Casi again, it was not a difficult decision. The staff at Casi were thrilled to see us once more and the feeling was mutual. Bunny got the same Tuk Tuk driver to kindly send us back to Aspara after we were magically kneaded and more than ready for bed.

If this is what a typical day of how our STR Adventure was to be, that would be so perfect. Alas, we all knew the reality. 500km of hard and wet riding through the Isthmus of Kra were waiting menacingly for us. But remembering the wise words of Jesus in Matt 6:34, "Let tomorrow take care of itself", we were happy to just enjoy this special day chilling in Khao Lak.

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